Making a red oak board bow

By Sam Harper

Getting rid of the ugliness

I think the drywall tape backing is hiddeously ugly, so to fix that problem, I spray painted it blue. Why blue? Well, you see, I made one of these red oak board bows for my friend, Thomas. We were out shooting it one day with his sisters, and his younger sister, Amanda, asked me to make her a bow. She said she wanted the back of it to be blue. Such was my desire to please the young lady that I immediately went out and bought a can of blue spray paint to use on her bow. Her bow, however, did not exhaust the blue paint inside. Not wanting it to go to waste, I've been spray painting drywall tape backings blue ever since.

I just want the back to be blue, so I used masking tape to tape the bow up.

This stuff dries in 12 minutes or less! It says "handle after one hour." Here's a look after removing the masking tape.

And here's a close-up.

Applying a finish

If you want, you can stain the bow. A darker stain really makes the grain in the red oak come alive. After that, you can apply the finish of your choice. I'm going to use about five coats of Deft. Deft is cheap, dries on anything, and dries pretty fast (about 20 minutes). It comes in a spray can, and you can get it practically anywhere--Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, etc. I put on three coats, then I use a Sharpie pen to write my name, length, weight, etc., then put on the final two coats. I put the writing between coats so it will be easy if anybody ever wants to sand it off.

I put the new string on and measured the draw weight right before I wrote this and actually got 47# at 28". But I figure once it's been shot a little more, it'll come down to 46#, so my conscience doesn't bother me too much.

Finishing up with the finishing up

After putting my final two coats of Deft, I put a leather grip on it which I laced with artificial sinew I got from Hobby Lobby. I got the leather off a leather jacket I bought for $2 or something at a yard sale. I used self-adhesive velcro for the arrow rest and strike plate.

Velcro is great stuff. I was tempted to try the self-adhesive felt one time, but it doesn't stay on. I got industrial strength Velcro, and now I'm sold on it. Just use the soft part. You can also use leather or calf hide or whatever and apply it with Titebond II or Barge cement.

And here's the final product.

That's it. A word of warning: Making bows is highly addictive. On the other hand, it's also highly rewarding.

Upgrade your browser for a better viewing experience »